A POLICE campaign to tackle domestic abuse has seen 24 people in Moray charged with offences.
A 13-day nationwide crackdown led to a total of 100 people being reported across the North-east.
Running from Christmas Eve until January 5, the campaign focused on deterring known domestic abuse perpetrators through bail and curfew checks as well as apprehension warrants.
A team of dedicated officers carried out additional patrols in communities, with the aim of encouraging victims to speak out and not suffer in silence.
Elle Johnston, service manager with Moray Women’s Aid, said the organisation supported any operation that brought offenders to the fore and attention to an often hidden crime.
She added: "Domestic violence has serious life-long repercussions, both physically and mentally, for both women and children.
"The outcomes of such police crackdowns are welcome; they highlight and increase social awareness and unacceptance of this destructive behaviour."
Councillor for Elgin South, Graham Leadbitter, who also sits on the Women’s Aid board, welcomed the initiative, but was concerned about the number of people apprehended.
"Domestic abuse continues to be one of the biggest areas of violent crime, and is absolutely abhorrent. In the worst cases it leads to extreme assaults, rape and murder.
"As a society we must continue to use every means at our disposal to drive down the incidence of domestic abuse, and make it clear to perpetrators that this behaviour is completely criminal and you will be punished for it.
"The fact that 24 people in Moray alone were reported over the Christmas and New Year period is worrying, but equally I commend the police for taking strong action against those committing domestic abuse-related offences.
"When you consider that there will be many more unreported incidences of domestic abuse, it is a clear indication of the hard work that must continue to tackle these criminals, and Police Scotland’s tough message to abusers is very welcome."
Across the Moray and Aberdeenshire division, a total of 55 people were charged with offences, including breach of bail and threatening and abusive behaviour.
Det Sgt Kerry Rigg said: "We are committed to tackling domestic abuse in our communities, and want victims of abuse to know that Police Scotland will continue to work to keep them safe.
"The positive results gained from this operation will have a significant impact on the lives of the victims, both directly and indirectly.
"We are aware of the difficulties victims face in coming forward, but I would encourage them to find the strength to reach out, and I assure them they will continue to be heard and supported.
"Support agencies work closely with us, and we see on a daily basis the benefit that their abilities can give to the victims, their families and the wider community affected by this type of crime."
Anyone who has concerns about domestic abuse is urged to contact Police Scotland on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 if they want to remain anonymous.
Moray Women’s Aid can be contacted on 01343 548549. The helpline is manned 24 hours a day Monday to Friday and from 4pm to 8am on Saturday and Sunday.